Cisplatin (Platinol) is a platinum-based chemotherapy. These medicines contain the metal platinum, and are used to treat many types of cancer. Cisplatin is sometimes called the “penicillin of cancer” because it has been one of the most widely used chemotherapy medicines and was one of the first effective cancer treatments.
Cisplatin is most often used to treat triple-negative breast cancer. In clinical trials, researchers are studying the effectiveness of cisplatin, and its cousin medicine carboplatin, for specific types of breast cancer, including breast cancer in women with a BRCA gene mutation.
Cisplatin is given by vein. It is usually given once every 3 weeks, but the exact schedule depends on the combination of medicines used and your specific diagnosis. Many breast cancer chemotherapy regimens consist of 4 to 6 cycles of treatment given over 3 to 6 months.
Your doctor will ask you to drink plenty of water on the days you receive treatment to protect your kidneys.
Common side effects may include:
- Low blood counts
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite or weight
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hearing loss and ear ringing
- Numbness or tingling in the fingers and toes, called neuropathy
Less common side effects include:
- Kidney problems
If you have problems urinating, be sure to report them to your doctor. Seek immediate medical care if you have chills or a fever of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, which may be signs of infection.
Before starting cisplatin, tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbal supplements and over-the-counter medicines. Also tell your providers if you are allergic to any platinum-containing compounds (such as the cousin chemotherapy medicine, carboplatin), have a history of kidney disease, are pregnant or may become pregnant. You should not breastfeed while you are on this medicine, because it can get into breast milk.
Cisplatin slightly increases the risk of developing leukemia, or blood cancer. Talk to your doctor about this and other risks of taking this medicine.